Emerson College’s only independent, student-run newspaper since 1947

The Berkeley Beacon

Emerson College’s only independent, student-run newspaper since 1947

The Berkeley Beacon

Emerson College’s only independent, student-run newspaper since 1947

The Berkeley Beacon

Governor Patrick’s trip to Israel benefits the Bay State

In the coming month, Mass. Governor Deval Patrick will be leaving the U.S. for what could be the most beneficial trade mission in the state’s recent years.

After securing a second term in office, the governor isn’t wasting any time making good on his promise to travel more. He intends to visit the United Kingdom and Israel with a contingency of like-minded professionals and executives to showcase our state’s innovative companies and facilitate further commercial opportunities. According to an article this month in the Boston Herald, he planned to tour Israel for similar reasons in 2008, but postponed due to concerns over public demands that he keep a tight budget.

However, as the state is now out of the recession, Patrick is making the wise choice to go through with his plans. Amid the turmoil shaking the surrounding region, Israel is taking the world on with its big ideas — and Patrick has noticed.

The Boston Globe reported Patrick is most interested in Israel’s prowess in life sciences and clean energy. Israel is a world leader in both areas and shares a close, integral partnership with the Bay State.

Boston in particular benefits from a strong international partnership with Israel’s third-largest urban center, Haifa. Since 2004, the two have had an especially notable medical connection through the Boston-Haifa Life Sciences Initiative [BHLSI], a project of the Combined Jewish Philanthropies designed to promote the success of their collaboration in the field and their respective economies.

Through BHLSI, the Mass. powerhouse companies could broker careful investments in promising start-ups. The private institution’s support of Rcadia Medical Imaging Ltd., based in Haifa, led to the production of the lifesaving Computer Aided Diagnostics system, among other initiatives, and has created more job opportunities in both cities.

Similarly, the Technion in Haifa has been a source of several medical breakthroughs. The Technion has ties to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology through Hibur, an organization creating educational and professional platforms for students and faculty of the two premier technological institutes to network. By sharing a network of think tanks in the field of high-tech advancements and providing opportunities for students to spend time studying at their sister school, new information and innovation can encourage breakthroughs on both continents.

BioDetect, for example, is a medical isolator of bacteria perfected at the Technion and used by major U.S. companies. A recently perfected drug developed by Teva delays Alzheimer’s disease and alleviates the effects of Parkinson’s disease for patients in our hospitals.

Governor Patrick is also set on creating renewable forms of energy production. As the governor intends to invest $2 billion over 3 years in energy efficiency programs, his ambitions need look no further than Israel. In the arena of environmental awareness and innovation, the 62-year-old state has become nothing short of a world wonder.

Since Israel’s founding, the country has equipped over 90 percent of homes with solar-powered water heaters — more per capita than any other country in the world. In 2010, Shai Agassi, founder-CEO of Better Place, launched the first ever battery-operated fully electric car in conjunction with Renault-Nissan — paving the way for an entirely oil-independent Israel and a laying the foundation for a global gas-free automobile market. Most recently, Innowattech’s new asphalt-embedded technology also saw a major breakthrough in harnessing power from highways and railroads, converting a vehicle’s natural compression into electricity.

The Boston Israel Cleantech Alliance has been instrumental in serving as a link between the two cities’ electric sights, with a main goal of increasing Boston’s educational, economic, and technological relations with Israel. Dozens of academic departments, student organizations, private businesses, and investors of both cities are involved in the Alliance, including those at the Technion and MIT, as well as over 70 cleantech companies in Israel.

Israel also has more companies on NASDAQ than all of Europe, Korea, Japan, Singapore, China, and India combined. In addition to their closely aligned foci, Israel is a strategically smart business destination for Patrick as he looks to present our state as a model of emergence out of the recession.

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